Thursday, August 30, 2007

OpEd: ACLU DOES GOOD??????

Without mincing words, when I read about actions the ACLU is taking, I find them despicable and damaging to our nation. I believe the American Civil Liberties Union could do a great deal to help civil liberties by truly promoting virtue, ethics, and decency toward all Americans while at the same time preserving individual agency. I usually think of them as their own special interest group with a very political agenda and a far-from-righteous ideology. I admit that I follow only cases that make the headlines, and that my conservative background may sway my first impression. But even as I try to give them the benefit of the doubt in many situations (examples withheld because I can't think of any), reason usually gets the best of me and I get all fired up at their ridiculousness.

Tirade aside, I am pleasantly pleased to present this article found on ldslivingonline.com. It surprised me that the ACLU is capable of doing something positive.

Mormon student, Justice, ACLU Join Up

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Justice Department is joining the American Civil Liberties Union in backing a student who lost his state-funded merit-based scholarship because he left college to serve a two-year church mission.

The department's Civil Rights Division filed a friend-of-the-court brief Friday in U.S. District Court in Charleston on behalf of David Haws, a student at West Virginia University.

Haws, a Mormon, is suing a state scholarship board, alleging it violated his First Amendment right to freely exercise his religion. His attorney argues that by denying Haws' request for a leave of absence, the board forced him to choose between his religion and his scholarship through a state program, known as PROMISE.

The Justice Department noted that the PROMISE Board grants deferments for military and community service, and that by denying a deferral for religious purposes, the board was placing a lower value on religious deferments.

Haws' attorney, John Matthews of the West Virginia chapter of the ACLU, said he was surprised by the federal government's support.

"Obviously you don't always see or think of the ACLU and the Bush administration being on the same side," he said.

An attorney for the state declined to comment.

The state's request to dismiss Haws' lawsuit notes that Mormon missions are encouraged, not required. Haws was "under no compulsion to choose between the tenets of his religion and continued receipt of the PROMISE scholarship," the motion reads.

Haws, who has a 4.0 grade point average, returned to West Virginia this month after spending two years helping to improve conditions for Hispanic workers in Western states. He has re-enrolled at WVU, and the university has agreed to defer his tuition at least through November while the lawsuit is pending.

Haws' lawsuit seeks the reinstatement of the scholarship and a change in the PROMISE Board's scholarship policy.

---

Associated Press

1 comment:

Stacy Hutchinson said...

I know that TOPS cooperated when Josh served his mission. I hope he wins.